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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Kremzeek75's review of: King Atlas

Name: King Atlas
Allegiance: Autobot
Function: Airforce Recon
Sub-Group: NA

As you probably know, the whole thrust (no pun intended) of the Universe series is to reintroduce molds in brand new paint schemes and/or names of toys from past lines. That being said, King Atlas is the Universe-update of Machine Wars Starscream. Not being entirely familiar with the Machine Wars line, I consulted Issue #113 of Lee's Toy Review Magazine, which had a fully encompassed section of Gen2/Machine Wars toys. I have to say, I was living proof of Barnum's old line- "There is a sucker born every minute." I happened to be the sucker on the day I walked in to Target and saw King Atlas. Man, he looked GREAT in the box, but once I took him out, I was less than satisfied. Well, what can I say? We all get taken aback by really bright colors and figures you have never seen before, so when you see a new toy the first time, you just WANT to get it. Unfortunately, I later learned I could have waited for purchase, but alas, it was a transformer and I was in the mood to purchase. In any event, on with the review.

Vehicle Mode:
If you distinctly remember the Machine Wars Starscream, then you will be fully familiar with all the tweeks and twitchings of this model. The alternate mode is a fairly good size sonic jet. The new color scheme is a primary white with yellow splotches of paint here and there coupled with black accents. The jet features working landing gear which is fully retractable in robot mode. The jet shaping itself is not without merit- there are some impressive turbine engines on each wing, and if you rotate the engine within its encasement, you will change the interior color scheme from black to red. The problem with that? Its only visible from the underside, and cannot be seen when in jet display. The wings also feature 2 stationary small yellow missiles per wing. I was not particularly impressed with the missiles- it would have been nice to have some kind of firing mechanism instead of having to do ye olde "manually take the missile OFF and throw it at an Decepticon" routine. However, there is one alternative to this method- since the bombs are so small, you can fit one inside each turbine engine, and using the manual rotation wheel, thus "dropping da bomb" on enemy fighters. One of the main features of King Atlas is the rear central module which is a scoping mechanism of sorts- if you look through the very rear thruster, you will see a mirrored projection of what is beneath you (or under King Atlas as you may be flying him through the air). Between the turbine engines lies a lever on the main body that turns Atlas' "shades" on the top-view level from black to red. There is also another set of rear wings that attach to the scoping mechanism. In this mode, Atlas is somewhat impressive, so I am not totally displeased with my purchase, however, the color scheme could have been better, because, in my opinion, the only jets that were able to pull off a primary white color scheme were the Aerialbots and Jetfire, but alas, King Atlas can stand his own ground, with or without them.

Robot Mode:
Featuring a whole 2 (count em: 2) points of articulation, I consider robot mode a display thing only. Kids are not going to find King Atlas very exciting since he really can't do much in terms of stance and general playability. One of the first details that caught my attention was that the screws used to hold this guy together are extremely visible in robot mode, with all the screw heads on the underside of the jet, which becomes the facing part of the robot. A fan can choose to keep the outermost wings with missiles retracted or visible- I chose the latter, figuring it helps the robot'' overall look. Of course, the missiles are not particularly impressive- they are small and lack any real kind of ferocity, so as a Decepticon, I would not be really scared of King Atlas in combat (Please forgive the RPG manner of speaking- I tend to get caught up in my world of toys). The legs are completely stationary- no bending or twisting, and are actually separated by a very visible black pastic tie-together, which really clashes with the white legs. The feet are minimal- just for stance. The head is not really that bad- one of the finer points of King Atlas. It is a stationary flat-faced look that reminds me of the Shogun Warriors like Mazinga or Guyking, and has an impressive helmet of sorts, giving the King a rather regal look. The arms are what make up the 2 points of articulation- from a strict viewing stance, they look rather nice- small at the shoulder joint and large at the hand/wrist joint. However, that does not save King Atlas from a rather dull take of things. The only other part of the King worth mentioning is that his chest piece (which hides his head in jet mode) is molded in a translucent red, and is one of the few interesting features.

Transformation: 2 - easy as pie. I figured it out without any direction right out of the box.
Durability: 8 - he is made of strong plastic, but I found I really need to jam the missiles into place in order to stay.
Fun: 3 - Ok for a display piece, but don't bank on having much fun when playing. The Limited articulation will bore a child fast.
Price: 7 - The King was around $20- had I known what I was really buying, I would have definitely waited till he adored the clearance rack, if I wanted to buy him at all.
Summary: 5 - This is a "take it or leave it" piece. For those of you who are just looking at him as a repaint of Machine Wars Starscream, you might enjoy him more than I. For those of you who try to look at this as an individual figure, use caution in your purchasing decisions.

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